Features

Matthew Washnock ’19

Nov. 9, 2018—After earning his undergraduate degree from Rhodes College, Matthew Washnock worked for two years at Benefit Recovery Group, a Memphis-based company that recovers medical liens for large, employer-funded healthcare plans administered by its Fortune 500 clients. The job involved working with lawyers and insurance professionals and introduced him to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act,...

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Josh Landis ’19 (BS’14)

Nov. 7, 2018—After earning his undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt, Josh Landis’s plan was to work for a couple of years and then earn a graduate business degree. But while working in New York City at AlphaSights, a London-based company that supports major corporations and institutional investors by providing customized research services, he began contemplating a career change....

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JD Fox ’19

Nov. 2, 2018—JD Fox was looking for a law school with rigorous academics, a strong sense of community and a solid record of placing students in federal judicial clerkships. He applied to seven law schools, but he recalls having an “aha moment” when he sat in on a class during his visit to Vanderbilt. “The professor made...

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Jenae Ward ’19

Oct. 30, 2018—Jenae Ward spent three years in Montgomery, Alabama, teaching middle school through Teach for America, during which she earned a teaching certificate from Athens State University and Auburn University of Montgomery. But, while Ward enjoyed teaching and coaching girls’ basketball, co-ed soccer and track, she had long set her sights on a career in law....

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Griffin Farha ’19

Oct. 26, 2018—After Griffin Farha narrowed his choices to two law schools, his visit to Vanderbilt became the deciding factor. “I found that Vanderbilt’s culture optimizes what I call the ‘smarts-to-stuffiness’ ratio,” he said. “I was immediately impressed by the intelligence and curiosity of Vanderbilt students. At the same time, I noticed they genuinely enjoyed the company...

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Randy Hiroshige ’20 J.D./M.T.S.

Oct. 16, 2018—Randy Hiroshige’s undergraduate courses in ethics and philosophy led him to consider a career in law. “During college, I started to see how structures propagate injustice and developed an ethical commitment to helping those ground down by legal structures,” he said. His desire to pursue graduate degrees in both law and theology led him to...

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Claudia Stantzyk-Guzek ’19

Oct. 9, 2018—When Claudia Stantzyk-Guzek and her partner, Emily Grand ’19, won the 2018 Bass Berry & Sims Moot Court Competition, their victory was the culmination of more than five months of work and six rounds of competition. “Experiences like Moot Court and working on a journal enhance your skills and help you put things you’ve learned...

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Chris Gracey ’19

Oct. 2, 2018—Chris Gracey had not imagined a career in law until he took an undergraduate class in international law from Professor Rodelio Manacsa, a native of the Philippines who earned his Ph.D. in political science at Vanderbilt University. Chris found the class transformative. During his remaining time at Sewanee, he took every course Professor Manacsa taught...

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Julie Rooney ’18

May. 15, 2018—As an undergraduate at Denison University in her home state of Ohio, Julie Rooney captained her school’s women’s softball team and graduated Phi Beta Kappa, winning the President’s medal. Rooney found the discipline that enabled her to excel academically and athletically in college extremely useful in law school, enabling her to join the staff of...

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Thomas E. Johnson ’18

May. 10, 2018—Vanderbilt Law School met a number of criteria Tom Johnson identified as important when he began applying to law schools as a senior at the University of Richmond. “I was interested in Vanderbilt’s Energy, Environmental and Law Use Program, it was located in the South, and it was very competitively ranked,” Johnson recalled. “I had...

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Amber Banks ’20

Apr. 23, 2018—After earning her degree in government at the University of Virginia, Amber Banks spent eight years focusing on reproductive justice, spending most of that time as an employee of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland, and also as part of the all-volunteer leadership of The Female Experience, a D.C.-based nonprofit. “I saw, over and over, that reproductive justice...

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Dora Duru ’20

Apr. 3, 2018—Dora Duru first became interested in international human rights as a high school student. That led her to major in international relations at Stanford University. When she decided to pursue a law degree, she looked for schools with strong international programs. She chose Vanderbilt based on her positive experience attending an Admitted Students Day, and...

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Zoe Beiner ’18

Nov. 16, 2017—Zoe Beiner’s interest in a career that would involve writing led her to consider law school. A native of Atlanta, Beiner spent a year living in Israel and then majored in history at the University of Florida. “I really love writing, but I had no interest in being an author or a teacher,” she said....

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Jessica Wilson ’18

Nov. 3, 2017—Jessica Wilson spent high school and college as a student athlete, combining a grueling track-and-field training schedule with the rigors of a college prep and Ivy League education. Before earning her degree in government at Cornell, she took a gap year to train for the Canadian Olympic trials. After graduation, she spent nearly three years...

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Nat Robinson ’18 (MBA’07)

Sep. 26, 2017—Founder, Leaf

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Samantha Sergent ’19

Apr. 5, 2017—Sam Sergent realized she wanted to pursue a career in international law after studying and interning in Dublin, Ireland, and Auckland, New Zealand. In Dublin, she had the opportunity to work on fitness-to-practice cases for the Irish Medical Council and Nursing Board, and to witness Irish legal proceedings. In New Zealand, she had a unique...

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Wesley Dozier ’19 (BA’16)

Mar. 29, 2017—Wesley Dozier realized he wanted to pursue in a career in social justice law while taking an undergraduate philosophy class focusing on mass incarceration. “I had never been explicitly interested in the justice system until I took this class,” he admitted. “I realized there was more the criminal justice system could and should do to...

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Lynn Stopher ‘18

Feb. 1, 2017—Lynn Stopher hadn’t planned on a career in law. “My dad is an attorney, my uncle’s an attorney—I never planned to be a lawyer,” she admitted. Intent on a career as a teacher and education policymaker, Stopher moved to Colombia to teach English after earning her undergraduate degree in history and bioethics at the University...

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Pratik Ghosh ’17

Dec. 21, 2016—While Pratik Ghosh studies for the Illinois bar examination during summer 2017, he will also work as a Public Interest Law Initiative Fellow with the Roger Baldwin Foundation of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. Pratik had joined Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago as a litigation associate but he first devoted 300 hours to...

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Rachel Johnson ’18

Oct. 31, 2016—After earning her undergraduate degree in German and history at Amherst, Rachel Johnson spent almost five years studying and working in Berlin, Germany, starting with a prestigious International Parliamentary Scholarship, which allowed her to study government policy as an intern with Germany’s Green Party. Johnson, who is fluent in Spanish and German, also explored the...

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Darrius Woods ’17

Sep. 28, 2016—Dean's Scholar

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Carly Myers ’17

Sep. 28, 2016—Conventions Editor, Vanderbilt Law Review

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Susanna Rychlak ’17

Jul. 8, 2016—Susanna Rychlak grew up with the law. Her father, Ron Rychlak ‘83, is a law professor at the University of Mississippi, which Susanna attended for undergraduate as a Croft Institute Scholar. During undergrad she also worked at a law firm in Oxford, gaining exposure to litigation and real estate practice. But she wasn’t certain she...

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Sebastian Pepin LL.M. ’16

Jun. 9, 2016—Having studied law in both the United Kingdom, and in France, Sebastien Pepin was already on course for a career in international law when he joined Vanderbilt’s LL.M. program. Born in the U.K., Pepin studied in both England and France, his father’s native country, from Haute Savoie, while growing up. His bicultural background was one...

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Ben Raker ’17

May. 12, 2016—When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death made headlines in January 2016, Ben Raker wrote a column for the Vanderbilt Hustler, the university’s student newspaper, offering a law student’s perspective on the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. “Scalia’s opinions were often colorful and easy to read,” he said. “During your first year of...

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